The article quotes a dissenting point of view on the charcoal proposal from a review by Robert J. van der Plas, who is described as "an energy consultant in the Netherlands:"
In a review of the Bailis team's study, he wrote that "kerosene is available in every nook and cranny of the urban and rural environment" in Africa.Hmmm, this sounds familiar. Economic development is better for the environment! "Rich" people don't have to cut down trees for firewood or squat in piles of animal dung to collect it and dry it for fuel, or breathe the toxic fumes of cook stoves.
The real problem, he noted in a study of energy use in Chad published earlier this year, is money. "A household would have to at least double its cooking fuel budget to switch to modern fuels, and there are not many households willing -- or able -- to do this."
The less time women spend collecting fuel, the more time they have for education or careers, thus fighting poverty and promoting gender equality. The less smoke children breathe, the more likely they are to live to adulthood.
I can hear the cry from the eco-radicals now, "But we musn't rob them of their traditional ways!" I think every culture has passed through such traditions, and all societies look forward to leaving them behind as quickly as possible.
So how to increase the wealth of rural farmers so they can buy the kerosene they need to save millions of women and children? How about transgenic crops that produce more food per acre?
Developing countries are playing an important role in the expansion of genetically modified (GM) crops, and are set to play an increasingly important role both in growing and researching the plants in the next ten years, says a report from the Council for Biotechnology Information.
Globally, planting of GM crops has increased at an annual rate of 15 per cent since they were first introduced in the mid-1990s, says the UN Food and Agriculture organization (FAO). ...
In its report, the Council for Biotechnology argues that developing nations stand to benefit most from this growth. It says the gross domestic product of poor nations adopting GM crops could increase by as much as two per cent by 2014.
Prabhu Pingali and Terri Raney of the FAO's Agricultural and Development Economics Division, told SciDev.Net that sustaining the 15 per cent growth rate would depend on the development of new crops meeting the needs of developing nations, and on ensuring such countries can access and adopt them.
"The biggest question, however, is whether these solutions will receive regulatory approval and consumer acceptance," say Pingali and Raney.
And what groups constantly lobby for strict, Byzantine regulations that discourage the research needed to develop the necessary new crops and make it impossible for any farmer to sell his or her genetically engineered foods by whipping up public hysteria with unfounded junk-science claims? The anti-human, so-called environmental groups.